Archive for the ‘work’ Category

many many responsibilities

Sunday, August 19th, 2012

I started my new job on June 4th – this Monday will mark the beginning of my twelfth week.

I’m kind of used to it now – to going to work in the morning and coming home in the afternoon and usually packing a lunch. This week, though, i started messing with my schedule – instead of running in the morning, I’ve been running at lunchtime. It’s nice because I get to sleep in a little, but I’m usually not hungry right after I run, so my lunch ends up just being nibbles of whatever I brought all afternoon.

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On Thursday I just had lots of snacky stuff. Tofu, a pretty good peach, peach pie, nuts, and the scalloped tomatoes with croutons.

I actually ate everything but the tofu – I just didn’t really feel like it. And then I was starving when I got home. Serves me right.

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I had some cheese and some naan and some wine when I got home.

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Then Crockett heated me up some semi-vindaloo and I ate it while we watched the last episode of the first season of The Walking Dead.

My favorite part of that show is when the lead character forgets to use his American accent.

(I’m calling the semi-vindaloo semi because it’s just pork simmered with onions in vindaloo spices and coconut milk. I think real vindaloo has a lot more going on.)

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Yesterday for lunch, my whole team (14 people!) went to Carino’s Italian Grill. It was seriously terrible. First of all, there is no such thing as a good restaurant experience when 14 people order at the same time – at least not somewhere with one server per section and a lunchtime rush. One guy ordered the unlimited soup, salad, and breadstick lunch, and got his second bowl of soup almost twenty minutes after he requested it. Another guy ordered a glass of wine – and it came with the check.

The bread on my meatball sandwich was good, but the meatballs were… odd. There was something GREEN in them. Pepperoncini, maybe? The fries were covered with parmesan cheese, which was the only good thing about them. At all.

Plus the whole thing literally took like two hours.

My night was a much better experience. It was the last Louisville Street Faire, so Crockett and I met up with some friends and my mom and took in some tunes and some drinks and generally painted the town red. We got home at after 1, which is SO LATE.

I got up at 11 today.

It’s like I’m in my twenties or something up in here y’all.

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Is it weird that I took a picture of my mom and myself in the bathroom of a restaurant? No? Thanks, I didn’t think so either.

How was your Friday night?

TOMATOES

Friday, August 17th, 2012

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So I’m sure you don’t know that tomatoes are awesome right now. Because of how you don’t go to any stores or look at the internet at all.

These are some heirloom babies that Crockett and I picked up at Whole Foods. Yes, they were $4 a pound. Yes, I find that entirely reasonable. I wanted to use them for BLATs, but then I forgot, and then they’d been on the counter for several days….

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And then they (and a buttload of my purple basil) were this.

Isn’t buttload a charming word to use when referring to food?

Other things that happened yesterday:

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More Fresca (consumed while everyone else was eating lunch and I just got back from the gym).

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A tiny chunk of super tasty Murray’s fromager d’affinois (it’s sort of like brie and sort of like butter and sort of completely awesome).

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Some of the Whole Foods sweet chili tofu that I definitely should have already eaten…

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and a peach – not pictured, peach pie.

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These bowls of rice and cottage cheese are not for me. As shocking as that may sound. My Cloey has been having some digestive issues lately, and on the vets instructions she’s on bland foods for a couple of days. The bowl on the right is for Maida – she gets a little rice and cottage cheese with her dog food so she doesn’t feel left out.

I’m not actually sure if she’s capable of feeling left out, but I would feel like she’s left out, and that’s close enough.

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Also? I intentionally drank red wine for the first time since May. That was a weird choice.

do scallops get ulcers?

Friday, August 10th, 2012

I’m a worrier. I don’t mean to be a worrier, but I am a worrier. It sucks.

Like, on Saturday? When I was at my family reunion?

My mom and I went to run some errands, and we put all four of our dogs in the car to accompany us. Don’t worry, it was only 65 degrees – the car was a happy place for them. We pulled up to the shopping center closest to our ranch, which happens to be at the intersection of two mountain highways, and parked the car. Maida, my lil puppy girl, hopped out of the car to come shopping with us, but I caught her and put her back where she belonged.

When we returned to the car, literally less than five minutes later, we saw my Cloey in the front seat, mom’s Buck in the back seat, and mom’s Charley hanging his head out the rear window.

The mostly open rear window.

And no sign of Maida.

So, my mom’s dogs are big. She doesn’t have to worry about half open windows, because her boys aren’t going anywhere. I should have checked to make sure the car was a safe place for my girls, but it didn’t occur to me. I stuck my head in the windows and opened the door of the seat where I’d left Maida, and I called her, and there was no sign of her.

My mom and I spent twenty minutes running around the parking lot, asking strangers for help, and screaming Maida’s name. I was absolutely sure that Maida was smushed somewhere. I called Crockett, who was only a few minutes away at the ranch, and asked him to come down. He asked me a series of reasonable questions but I was absolutely NOT hearing it – I was instead stopping every few minutes and going into a ‘where’s my DOG’ panic attack?

Are you scared?

Don’t be.

Maida was sleeping under the driver’s seat of the car. Crockett found her within ten minutes of meeting us. While I was accosting strangers and begging them to help me find my puppy, he was using his brain.

Yes, I’m a worrier.

Today something else happened that turned out ok, but I’m still all blerg about it, so I’m not ready to share. However, I will share:

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The delicious bag o’ heirloom cherry tomatoes that I bought on my way home from work yesterday at Ollin Farms.

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I remembered to take a picture of the farm as I was driving away. Pretty, eh? I drive by it on my way home every day and this is the only time I’ve stopped.

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I ate some of them for lunch today, along with the last of the leftover turkey burgers from the reunion and a Diet Coke. I’d really really wanted a Fresca, because hell yeah Fresca, but the F button was broken on the soda machine and the Frescas were in the F row. I’m really worried that they’re going to stop stocking them because no one can buy them. Stupid row F.

Ok, here’s today’s question, a little early.

Do you like scallops?

Because I want to like scallops, and I just don’t, really. I don’t dislike them, but for me they’re like lobster. Special in theory, but really nothing more than a vehicle for buttery sauce in practice.

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Crockett freaking loves scallops, though, so last night we had scallops. They were good, for scallops. Crockett loved them. What do I know.

Thai-ish Scallops and Rice

8 oz sea scallops, fresh or defrosted (I got ours frozen from Whole Foods – they were sustainably sea caught(? do scallops run away?), cause I’m all smug like that)
olive oil
3/4 cup jasmine rice
1 cup coconut milk, light or not light
3 tablespoons Thai basil, not chopped (regular basil or mint would be good too)
2 tablespoons lemongrass (I buy the chopped stuff in the tube from the grocery store because it keeps for awhile and I have no idea where to get fresh lemongrass)
salt

Combine the rice and 3/4 teaspoon of kosher salt and 1 1/2 cups water (or however much you usually use, I’m at 5300 feet and need a lot of water for boiling things) and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and set a timer for 20 minutes.

Combine the coconut milk, basil, and lemongrass in another pot and bring to a boil, then reduce to a fast simmer. Add half a teaspoon of salt. You want this to reduce while the rice is cooking. (If you want to cook the rice in the coconut milk you can, just wait until ten minutes of cooking have passed before adding herbs. I personally like it as a sauce because you can pour it over the scallops.)

When the rice is pretty much done, heat a pan over medium high and add some olive oil. Pat the outside of the scallops dry and salt – somewhere between generously and lightly. Not four grains, but not 500 either. If you’re using kosher salt, I would aim for about a teaspoon and a half for all the scallops, about  teaspoon if you’re using regular salt.  When the oil is hot, place the scallops in the pan with one flat side down and set your timer for one minute. When one minute has passed, flip them to the other side and cook for one more minute. Touch the top and if they still seem squishy, give them thirty more seconds. If they feel firm, pull them off the heat super quick and transfer them to a plate.

Serve rice, top with scallops, and pour reduced sauce over the top.

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odds and ends

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

The food at my training sucked.

Ok, fine. That may not be entirely true – I wouldn’t know about two of the days.

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I don’t know if you can see the problem here, so let me lay it out for you.

There are green peppers in every one of those options. The middle one is tofu! Which was nice for vegetarians! But still, green peppers.

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Those are not jalepenos. They’re bell peppers.

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Who the hell puts bell peppers in guacamole? Our cafeteria, apparently.

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Is it terrible to say that I briefly considered eating something with the peppers in it to get out of the training via allergic reaction? Briefly, I said! When I’d ruled that out, I ended up with a choice of a tortilla with cheese and either lettuce or sour cream.

Fortunately, I’d packed a lunch. I had some tasty farro and mozzarella balsamic salad while everyone else enjoyed their fajita bar.

And then I made Rick Bayless’s Zucchini, Corn, and Poblano Tacos at home to make myself feel better.

They were awesome.

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Day two was lasagne. Have you seen a tray of hotel lasagne? With unidentified meat product in the red version and a puddle of oil seeping out of the white version? Then you know what the lasagne looked like.

I didn’t eat it either. I ate farro and mozzarella balsamic vinegar salad again. I am VERY original.

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Yesterday we had sandwiches! I ate those. And the cookie. And two platefuls of the fruit salad.

Yum.

Anyway, overall? Training food is not good food. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

empty handed

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

I was in training all day today.

Hybrid hard disk drive training.

It was totally interesting! Until like 10 am. And it was pretty tolerable. Until like 2 pm.

My notes from the last three hours of the day include a lot of stick figures.

Anyway.

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That party we went to? With all the Thai food? I did not show up empty handed. I brought two of my favorite cookies.

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Chocolate Whoopie Pies
Very slight adapted from The Good Cookie, i.e. one of the best cookie books ever. Unfortunately, it’s out of print now :(. Sadness.

1 stick room temperature butter, unsalted
1 cup sugar
1 egg, separated
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup buttermilk or 1/2 cup minus 1 tablespoon milk with 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar (I NEVER have buttermilk. The substitution works fine.)
2 cups flour (I’ve substituted whole wheat pastry flour for half with acceptable results, but try to resist the urge.)
1 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt

2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 stick room temperature butter, unsalted
2 tablespoons cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla (Use clear vanilla if you have it, which I only do because a good friend of mine brought it home from me from Mexico. I have no idea how it’s clear.)

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Cream together the butter and sugar for at least two full minutes. You want lots of air in there. LOTS. Beat in the egg yolk, reserving the white.

Mix the baking soda into the warm water. Sift the cocoa powder over the butter/sugar/egg mixture, and at least partially incorporate it with a spoon or the beaters. (It will poof everywhere. Embrace it or stir slowly.) Add the hot water mixture and beat to combine. Add one cup of the flour, along with the salt, stir, and add the milk and lemon juice/vinegar (or buttermilk). Beat to combine. Add the final cup of flour and beat until there are very few lumps left.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or butter it). Using a one tablespoon scoop (or just a tablespoon measure), scoop balls onto the baking sheet. Leave 1 1/2 to 2 inches between balls – you can fit 15 on a standard baking sheet.

Bake for 6 minutes, then check. It’s hard to tell since they’re so dark, but the top should be craggy like you see in the picture and shouldn’t squish if you poke it. (It can dent, but it shouldn’t squish.) If you have any doubts, stick em back in for another minute. Overcooked isn’t great but it’s better than under. As soon as they’re done, carefully remove them to a cooling rack.

While you’re baking all the cookies, cream together the butter and cream cheese for the frosting. Add the powdered sugar and beat until crumbly, then add the egg white and vanilla. (You will be eating it raw. If you prefer not to use the egg white, sub 2 tablespoons milk or cream or even water.) Beat until smooth.

Once the cookies are at room temperature, pair them up in appropriate sizes. They should be MOSTLY the same size, but some will definitely fit together better than others.

Spread one to one and a half teaspoons on the inside of one cookie and top with it’s mate. Repeat and put in the fridge until they’re not sliding around anymore.

Store somewhere coolish. They’ll be great for a day, tasty for two or three more, and worth eating for close to a week. (That last part might be just my opinion.)

The other cookies were these almond blueberry bars. Recipe later this week, deal? Deal.

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You know what’s almost as good as cookies?

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BBQ with my man.

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Even if it does rain so hard we can’t play cornhole.

More training tomorrow! And Wednesday! Whoo. Hoo.

on demand

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

People, I’m not going to lie right now.

I’m kind of tipsy.

I didn’t MEAN to get tipsy! It’s my half birthday (no, seriously), and Crockett was like ‘well then let’s have half happy hour!’ and so we did, at The Empire.

Except it was like extra happy hour.

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There were buffalo wings.

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There was wine.

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There was a tiny cheese plate.

For Crockett, there were:

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old fashioned…

me: how do you pluralize old fashioned?

Crockett: olds fashioned.

Ok then. Crockett had olds fashioned. Also a mini calamari salad. And?

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Mini mac and cheese. This was not as good as my cheese plate, which featured a cheese that used the milk of THREE DIFFERENT ANIMALS, but pretty good.

OH guess what. I got my standing desk today.

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It’s super tall. Like, I’m standing on the ground (floor, whatever) and that’s where my elbow is. SUPER tall.

 

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This is not breakfast. I know it looks like breakfast. It’s lunch.

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Look at my cute kitchen at work. It’s in a weird pod thing – there’s a convex wood wall behind me that has soda machines and stuff. Cute, right? This is one of … ten or twelve identical cute kitchens in my building.

Cute cute cute.

Crockett and I just had a conversation about concave and convex.

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Since Crockett doesn’t have a cute kitchen at his office, he had to drink the coffee I made in the am. It was early, but he enjoyed it. Plus, FORESHADOWING with the mug. You know, since we went to Empire tonight. No? Ok, no. Not foreshadowing.

Last night we had bbq again, and it was fabulous. I love Lulu’s so much that when they place an entree in front of me, I forget to take pictures.

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These are Crockett’s leftover sweet potato tater tots and fried okra, though, and I did eat some of these.

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He loves it when I eat his food.

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Listed among things he did not share: his Utica Club beer.

I did do things other than eat and drink yesterday and today, I swear.

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See? This was my run this morning.

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And this was my after lunch walk.

… I have no good questions. I’m sorry. True Blood (season 2) is on – no spoilers, please!

blerg

Friday, July 13th, 2012

I tried to IM the word ‘blerg’ on my phone to my bff earlier today and my phone corrected it to ‘blood’.

That’s a good analogy for the day.

It should have been a good day. Last night I had margaritas and pulled pork sandwiches with one of my favorite ladies…

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My momma! Well, she had a margarita.

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That’s hers on the left. Mine on the right is what Lulu’s calls a Texas Slush. That might be a thing? Like, a thing in places other than a bbq joint in Louisville? It’s half Tecate (that’s that bottom layer) and half frozen margarita (the top).

SO GOOD. It’s weirdly sparkly – I know it sounds unlikely, but it’s what I imagine a champagne slushie would taste like.

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Then today I had my Kashi and yogurt with fresh organic strawberries ($4.99 for two pounds yo) – again in a meeting. I either need to start checking my calendar more thoroughly or start bringing a less crunchy breakfast. This picture was taken while everyone was looking at someone else, so I’d already eaten two thirds. Slowly and with the aid of much saliva.

Sorry, was that gross? That was gross. Someone tell Kashi to put ‘crunch’ in the name of their. .. oh, right.

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Farro for the third lunch in a row – not terrible, but I REALLY need to remember how much longer four servings last when I’m eating them alone. I’m ready for Crockett to come home, but I’ve got a whole ‘nother work week to plan for. I should just eat celery stuffed with various things. Celery stuffed with things is fabulous. The celery above is stuffed with a Laughing Cow Queso wedge.

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Oh, also? I’m still not running where the coyote puppies are, but this isn’t a terrible replacement. It’s amazing how much more picturesque something that is essentially an alley can look at dawn-ish.

Anyway. Today was blerg because BLERG.

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Sometimes, as adults, we go to the doctor (like we’re supposed to) and the doctor says ‘hmmm….’ instead of ‘ok, everything looks fine, see you next year!’. That happened to me a couple of weeks ago, and today was my follow up – and instead of ‘gosh, that was silly, you’re good to go’, I essentially got another ‘hmmm’. As a responsible person who does what my doctor tells me to, I’m sure that everything will in fact be fine, but it’s still enough to take a normal day to ‘blerg’ level, you know?

What other one thing is enough to make a day blergy? I’m sure there are plenty.

 

 

whoops

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

I opened my home laptop just now and realized that I’d shut the lid last night while yesterday’s post was… posting. Post post. Post.

So there it is, smooshed right up against this one. Oh well.

Many exciting things happened today. For example, my coworker buddy sent me an article about how sitting all day makes you die, and then she and I rigged a standing desk out of textbooks. This is my standing desk, apparently she’d rather be comfortable than alive from 92 to 94.

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I send Crockett this picture and he pointed out that there are probably $1500 worth of books under the laptop, making this an exceptionally expensive rigged desk. My bosses boss did come by and say that if I wanted a real one, they’d make it happen, but I’m going to try it out first. Honestly, I stood up for like four hours today and I feel pretty solid. It’s awesome.

…. Huh. I guess that was actually the only exciting thing that happened today.

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I watered our herb garden – what up, three kinds of basil?

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I watered my new lemon plant. See the teeny tiny lemons? They’re exactly the same color as the leaves right now, but I have high hopes for an eventual lovely yellow.

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I did not water our hops plant, because after all the rain I’m pretty sure it’s trying to take over the world and doesn’t need help from me.

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I ate breakfast.

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Those yellow things are the last of the mango nectarines. Thank god, because those things were trippy.

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Then I ate some baby yellow tomatoes and some roasted mushrooms and farro salad, which it turns out does not photograph any better in natural light than it did in the kitchen last night. It did keep well, though, so here you go:

Roasted Mushroom and Farro Salad
Adapted from The Kitchn

1 or 2 8 oz packages of whatever kind of mushrooms you like (see note)
1 cup uncooked farro
3 cups chicken stock or equivalent bullion substitute
2 – 3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 – 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 oz parmesan or romano cheese

Here’s my note: I used probably 10 oz of crimini mushrooms,  2 tablespoons of olive oil, and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. I wished there had been more mushrooms, and possibly more interesting kinds, but otherwise I thought it was about perfect – however, I really like farro and didn’t need it heavily dressed. If you’re not sure how you feel about it, feel free to up the juice and oil values. Also, this does involve turning on the oven.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees (I know it’s July – save this recipe for fall if your house is too hot) and put the stock or three cups of water and your bullion on to boil. When boiling, add the farro and bring to a simmer. Set your timer for 25 minutes.

Rinse and chop or break your mushrooms into smallish bite size pieces. Spread them out on a baking sheet lined with foil and toss them with one to two teaspoons of your oil and about half a teaspoon of kosher salt. Stick them in the oven and turn it down to 350 – hopefully right now your timer says 20 minutes, give or take, but if not set one that does.

When the farro is done, try it. It should still have some bite but nothing serious – you just don’t want fluffy. Drain it. Pull the mushrooms out of the oven, and let them and the farro get down to room temperature. (Don’t rinse the farro to cool it off – if you want to speed up the cooling process, spread it out on a baking sheet). When they’re both coolish, stir them together and toss with the rest of the olive oil and the lemon juice.

Crumble (not grate) the cheese over the salad and serve at room temp.

Possible variations: Veganize it by leaving out the cheese. I suggest some nutritional yeast flakes if you’re going to do this.
Herb it up.. I wanted to try it plain first, and now I’m thinking parsley, thai basil – maaaaybe thyme… something bright.
Fried egg on top, anyone?

 

parmesan cheese owl hands

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

Today started with rain that was followed by a two hour training that I wasn’t aware I was going to, and ended with me staying after everyone else left to update an internal website that people actually apparently use.

That whole using of an internal site thing is weird to me. At my previous places of employment, internal informational sites were created with the greatest of intentions and roundly ignored.

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Rain and breakfast. I’d intended to eat on the road, but the roads were so blah that I didn’t manage to take a bite until I got to my desk.

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And after that one bite, I was called to my training. I was still hungry, so my bowl came with me, but it turns out that Kashi isn’t the best cereal to eat in a quiet room. Even when mixed with yogurt and fruit. I basically ended up sucking on each bite before biting down, which was… icky. Seriously.

So I haven’t been eating very many vegetables since Crockett went out of town, but I have a good reason. We bought a thing of mixed spring greens at Costco… and it turned out to be 90% arugula.

I freaking hate arugula, but I hate to throw out perfectly good food, so the salad greens have been sitting there uneaten.

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Last night I decided to put them all in a food processor and make them into pesto. This is a real thing, that people do. I didn’t just make this up. I added olive oil and almonds (who keeps pine nuts on hand, seriously?) and some hard gouda that I had leftover from also not wanting to eat it.

What did I think was going to happen when I put two things I didn’t like into a sauce with two things that I do like? Did I think the things I like would magically overwhelm the truly massive amount of arugula?

I might have.

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But if I did, I was wrong. This stuff is truly gross.

Fortunately, Crockett likes arugula and gouda. I stuck this in the freezer for him. It’s very very strongly flavored, but I think it will work well as a sandwich spread or something… maybe. Who knows. I’m clearly off my rocker when it comes to this stuff.

Today, though, I bought more salad greens, some broccoli, some brussels sprouts, and a big zucchini. (What? That arugula was taking up a lot of room.)

Good thing, because my microwave broccoli in cheese sauce that I’ve been eating at work is getting a little old.

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Yeah, I ate that. No, it didn’t look quite that… neon when I ate it. Not pictured: my delicious dark chocolate Jello pudding cup.

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The drive home was much more relaxing than the drive to work. Plus, see those mountains? I can see them even better through the glass wall down the row from my cubicle. Really, my office building is very nice.

For dinner tonight I made some roasted mushroom and farro salad, but in the kitchen light it’s photographing super brown so it’ll have to wait. If it keeps well maybe I’ll post the recipe – although really, who eats farro? It’s just been hanging out in our pantry from when I totally thought I was going to make Farro with Tuna and Tomatoes, but then totally didn’t because I hate capers and never ever ever buy oil packed tuna. I had to crumble parmesan into the salad, and my hands smell like parmesan, which is surprisingly pleasant.

One final thing. I have this teeny tiny turquoise owl ring from when I was a baby. Why did I have a ring as a baby? I don’t know. Theres’s some story there – I’ll have to ask my mom. Anyway, I’ve been wearing it between my first and second knuckle, because I like the ring and I like the way it looks there. There is a fashion precedence, too. Like this cute girl, for example. Or this adorbs little infinity loveliness.

Oh also? I was playing with a new photo treatment app on my phone and deleted the original of this after making my hand look a little … blue. It wasn’t this color in real life.

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Cute? I think it’s cute, zombie hand and all.

Anyway. What do you wear that you especially like lately?

P.S. That is a black string on my thumb. It’s a whole different story and involves me trying to keep myself awake during the single longest training ever.

P.P.S. I also just realized that the two things I’ve made in the last twenty four hours require ingredients that I say that no one keeps on hand. Whoops.